A judge released fresh testimony this week alleging corrupt practices involving members of Brazil’s leftist Workers Party (PT), whose candidate Fernando Haddad faces far-right lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro in Sunday's presidential election.
Anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro unsealed the plea-bargain testimony of jailed former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci stating that PT founder and then-President Lula da Silva ordered the collection of bribe money in 2010 to fund the campaign of his successor Dilma Rousseff.
Lawyers for Lula, who was jailed in April and barred from running for office due to a corruption conviction, said publication of the testimony was politically motivated to harm Lula and his party.
The Palocci testimony could increase anti-Workers Party sentiment, which has helped make Bolsonaro the frontrunner in the race. Palocci resigned as Rousseff’s chief of staff in 2011 after only five months due a corruption accusation.
In the testimony make public, he said he attended a meeting in 2010 where Lula ordered the then chief executive of state-run oil company Petrobras, José Sérgio Gabrielli, to commission 40 drill ships and use bribe money from the contracts to fund Rousseff’s campaign.
Palocci was arrested two years ago in the sweeping Car Wash investigation into the use of the contracts at Petrobras, as the state oil company is known, by the Workers Party and allied parties to siphon off funds for their political needs.
The court documents made public also cite alleged corrupt practices by Petrobras executives and one financial institution related to exploration blocks in Africa, where the company partnered with investment bank Banco BTG Pactual SA in a venture known as PetroAfrica. BTG acquired a stake in the venture in 2013 and was trying to sell it until recently.